Acute Injury Management – Tracy McAdam
Today’s topic is ‘Acute Injury Management´. In my opinion the most important period in terms of minimising the effects of any injury is how it is managed within the first 48-72 hours. By following these easy steps you can speed up the rehabilitation process by limiting the adverse effects of poor acute injury management. These tips may not be new, but are essential knowledge guides to anyone playing sport.
The first 0-5 days of an injury is known as the acute inflammatory phase. Within this stage you may notice swelling, heat, bruising and restricted movement. It is important that this phase is respected and treated very specifically. If this is not complied too it may prolong the inflammation and delay your return to sport. If you are in doubt about the diagnosis of an injury or the severity of the injury seek medical advice as soon as possible. This can be accessed by visiting a Physiotherapist, Dr or A&E clinic.
Things to do
Protect: support the injured area when possible, this may be by using crutches for a lower limb injury or a sling for an upper limb injury. Your physiotherapist will be able to supply and advise on this.
Rest: This is usually dictated by your physiotherapist. Rest does not mean becoming completely immobile as this can create scar tissue and prolong the rehabilitation process therefore I would advise relative rest which means use the area only as necessary. Gentle movements can actually help with tissue alignment and developing new tissue. As a general rule movement should be limited to ‘little but often’ and pain free in nature.
Ice: If the area is swollen ice for 20 minutes every -3 hours. Ensure you wrap the ice in a damp towel to prevent ice burns on the skin. This should be continued as long as the area is swollen.
Compress: Using a Tubi-grip or compression bandage. Only wear the compression during the day and ensure you remove this during the night. This should be continued as long as the area is swollen. Be careful not to make the compression too tight and continue to monitor your circulation regularly.
Elevate: Keep the injured area elevated above the level of your heart whenever possible. This is of most relevance to ankle and knee injuries, which are more frequently associated with swelling.
Physiotherapy: Seek the assessment and advice of a physiotherapist as soon as possible to begin the rehabilitation process.
Things not to do
Alcohol: do not drink alcohol in the inflammatory phase of your injury because this thins the blood and increases the bleeding. This in turn will worsen any musculoskeletal problem.
Medication: Do not take any medication unless this has been discussed or prescribed by a Dr or Pharmacist. . Current evidence is to use simple analgesia post injury and to delay using anti-inflammatories until 24-48 post injury. The reasoning behind the delay using anti-inflammatories is because swelling supplies the essential cells which aid healing.
Activity: Do not use the injured area unnecessarily. Excessive activity can increase the blood flow and therefore the bleeding at an injury site. This in turn will worsen a musculoskeletal problem.
By following the above advice you will be giving yourself the best chance to recover quickly and properly from acute injuries.
If you have any questions then leave a comment below.
That’s all for now!